Chinese bus company expands into e-bus market in Europe

Chinese bus company expands into e-bus market in Europe
Yutong sold 24,748 electric buses in 2018. The company now plans to make a big push into Europe.

Busworld Europe entered its 25th edition this weekend, this time not in Kortrijk but on the Heysel expo facilities in Brussels. Besides the usual child-friendly doors and comfortable seat developments, this exhibition for international bus builders focused primarily on electric buses.

The Chinese group Yutong has presented itself this year as a major player in this new energy market, and was widely present at the fair. With a market share of 15% worldwide and 34% of the Chinese market, the Yutong Group is the largest bus distributor in the world since 2016. They sold nearly 70,000 buses in 2018, including 24,748 electric buses.

With their slogan “Better bus, better life”, Yutong aims to conquer the European e-bus market, a spokesperson from the company said. They have already delivered the first electric bus to Denmark and installed a first full electric intercity line in the Provence, France. They are also already present in Finland and the United Kingdom, though the rest of the European market is a challenge.

“The European market is not adapted to Chinese buses. There is a huge lack of infrastructure, there are hardly any charging points”, said Yuan Chang, deputy general marketing director. Yutong therefore also looks at opportunities to work on projects that would help improve the infrastructure for electric vehicles in Europe. “We don’t want to offer just the product; we also want to convey the solution,” Chang added. To achieve this goal, they plan to work together with the local authorities.

By producing e-buses, the Yutong Group says it saves several hectares of deforestation and reduces CO2 emissions by 1.3 million tonnes per year. The estimated life span of the electric buses is between 15 and 20 years, 5 years longer than the average bus. And customers can usually expect to save a third in maintenance cost and 25% of fuel cost compared to diesel buses.

The European market is currently dominated by Van Hool, MAN and Volvo. Yutong believes however that it has a competitive advantage and the right ingredients to succeed. “We don’t just offer a new technology, but a new technology with a lot of experience, something that no other bus manufacturer in Europe can actually foresee,” said Franco Miniero, marketing director of Yutong for the European market. A design and excellence label was awarded to the company at Busworld 2019.

Busworld Europe runs until Wednesday, October 23

The Brussels Times

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